- Category: Swimming
How did you become involved in swimming?
Through surf life saving, I was always swim training to strengthen my surf skills.
Who is your sporting hero?
Age you started in your sport?
I started swimming lessons when I was about 3 or 4 and always trained while competing in nippers but I didn't really start to take swimming seriously until I was about 13 or 14 when I started competing and winning medals at national age.
Height, weight, age?
175cm, 72kg, 20 years old
Studying sports management at Bond University
What motivates you to continue in your sport?
To simply be the best that I can possibly be and push myself to my limits both physically and mentally.
What motivated you to start your sport?
Who do you race for club/state?
I represent Miami Swim Club, QLD (QAS)
People that have inspired you both in sport and life?
My parents have always inspired me to get the most of myself and to try my hardest in everything I set out to do.
Great experiences that have happened in your life?
Whenever I have had the opportunity to represent my country has been an amazing experience, however being selected onto the 2012 London Olympic Team has probably been the greatest and I can not wait to compete over in London and experience an Olympics!!
Your interests and hobbies?
I love to surf and go to the beach and I am also very interested in fashion.
One tip or quote that continues to inspire you?
"We are what we repeatedly do, excellence, therefore is not an act, but a habit" Aristotle
Family Background(where did you grow up) and Current Family
My family is from the Gold Coast and Newcastle. I have lived my entire life on the Gold Coast and the Neilsen family has strong family history here which makes it pretty special.
What is your happiest memory?
Growing up on the beach playing with my brother and sister.
Who did you idolize growing up?
Grant Hackett, when I was first coming up through the squads at Miami I remember always being in awe of his achievements and his incredibly tough mentality. It was super intimidating when I moved up into Denis's squad and training along side him when I was only 12!
Were you always one of the better athletes growing up?
No! My sister was always the phenomenal natural athlete and I was incredibly jealous haha. I didn't start to really come into my own until I was about 14 or 15.
What is one thing you would share with the children wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Always strive to be the best you can be. As long as you have put your everything into it then you have not at all failed.
How has being involved/playing your sport changed your life?
I will always lead a healthy active lifestyle and that I will always be aiming to get the most out of myself.
Who has been your biggest supporter?
My Parents as well as both my coaches Denis Cotterell and Phil Clayton.
Who has been your best coach?
Denis Cotterell has been my main coach through out my career and I have never meet anyone so passionate about anything as Denis is about swimming which is very inspiring as an athlete. Phil Clayton is my current dry land coach and has been phenomenal in terms of teaching me a lot about racing mentality, being an amazing competitor himself.
Sporting Background and current list of results/achievements?
Background in surf life saving
2008 - Youth Commonwealth Games India, gold in 200m free and broke games record
2010 - offered AIS scholarship. Competed at World Short Course Champs in Dubai winning a silver medal in the 4x200m relay.
2011 - placed 3rd in 200m free at national championships and selected onto FINA World Swimming Championships held in China, Shanghai
2012 - placed 5th in 200m free at national championships and selected onto the 2012 London Olympic Team
Favourite Foods/Diet you follow?
I love chocolate and sushi! But i generally follow a pretty healthy diet consisting of a lot of protein and green veggies
Your typical training split and favourite thing to train?
I prefer short, fast paced training as appose to long endurance work. I hate running and gym!
Worst injury you have suffered?
I tore a tendon in my rotator cuff before worlds last year.
What is the ultimate prize in your sport?
an Olympic gold medal
What do you find to be the toughest aspect of your sport?
Keeping a positive/calm mentality. Swimming is an incredibly individual and isolating sport, so at times it is very hard, especially during competition to keep calm and focus.
What one lesson did you take from your parents?
To always give everything my absolute best and to never give up
How do you deal with temptation?
I tend to focus in on my goals and decide wither it will help me in the long term. When it comes to food, I will generally treat myself from time to time though.
What is your favourite music/band/song?
anything by the red hot chili peppers, radiohead, the cure.
What is your biggest fear?
I hate the feeling of falling, I could never bungee jump or sky dive.
Do you believe "never giving up" is the difference between making it and not making it in any sport?
Have you ever failed at anything? If yes how did you overcome this?
I have failed more often then not in my career. Once I have gotten over the initial devastation, I look back at why it happened and what went wrong and learn from it. Now that I have achieved one of my long term goals of qualifying for an Olympic games I realise that failing and learning from it, is something that really taught me a lot about myself and made me a much better competitor.
What inspired you to succeed?
To push myself to be the greatest I can be. As long as I have done everything I could and tried my absolute best, that is success.
What did you want to be as a kid growing up?
I'm not really sure, I absolutely loathed swimming and any sort of training though, so I can't imagine it had anything to do with sport!
Your future goals in your sports, and goals when you finish your sport?
To win an Olympic gold medal! and to compete at a commonwealth games, I hope to compete at the ones held on the Gold Coast in 2018. Post swimming, I hope to be involved in a career that I am incredibly passionate about and love to do every day, I am still working out what that might be.
If you could have dinner with 5 people who would they be?
Anthony Keidis, Kelly Slater, Michael Phelps, Bethany Hamilton and Snooki
What is one item you cannot live without?
People you would like to thank?
My parents, Jon and Dione. My brother and sister, Josh and Tayla. As well as my entire family and all my friends. And my coaches Denis Cotterell and Phil Clayton.
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